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[sahy-uh-nahyt] /ˈsaɪ əˌnaɪt/
a granular igneous rock consisting chiefly of orthoclase and oligoclase with hornblende, biotite, or augite.
Origin of syenite
1790-1800; < Latin syēnītēs (lapis) (stone) of Syene < Greek syēnī́tēs (líthos); see -ite1
Related forms
[sahy-uh-nit-ik] /ˌsaɪ əˈnɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for syenite
Historical Examples
  • The rock was syenite, so weathered as to resemble sandstone.

  • The complete gradation from syenite to bauxite has been shown.

  • Here the magnetite forms a great tabular vertical body lying between porphyry and syenite.

  • They sought no quarried blocks of syenite or granite for their work.

  • We ascended a ridge bristling with syenite boulders of massive size, appearing above a forest of dwarf trees.

    How I Found Livingstone Henry M. Stanley
  • In syenite and greenstone it occurs more commonly than orthoclase.

    Geology James Geikie
  • syenite usually does so in our damp climate, from the “weathering” effect of frost and rain: why has it not done so over the lake?

    Glaucus Charles Kingsley
  • syenite, like granite, is recognised as an igneous as well as a metamorphic rock.

    Geology James Geikie
  • The syenite granite was very hard, and capable of taking a high polish.

    Cleopatra's Needle James King
  • What is the mineralogical composition of syenite and diorite?

    Geology James Geikie
British Dictionary definitions for syenite


a light-coloured coarse-grained plutonic igneous rock consisting of feldspars with hornblende or biotite
Derived Forms
syenitic (ˌsaɪəˈnɪtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C18: from French syénite, from Latin syēnītēs lapis stone from Syene (Aswan), where it was originally quarried
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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syenite in Science
A light-colored, coarse-grained igneous rock consisting primarily of alkali feldspar together with some mafic minerals, especially hornblende. Unlike most igneous rocks, syenite has little or no quartz. It is believed to form from the cooling of magma that forms at very high temperatures and at great depths. It is the coarse-grained equivalent of trachyte.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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